December 2011 Running Commentary


Once a month or so, I clear out some of the content on my Running Commentary, Random Thoughts, and 12 Notes pages and place them here on the main page to make room for fresh content on those pages.  This is the December 2011 Running Commentary.  Enjoy!

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This month:  251.34 miles.  Longest run: 15.2 miles (December 6th) Shortest run: 3.3 miles (December 25th)  28 runs in 31 days during the month. Average run distance for the month: 8.976 miles

2011 Mileage total: 2151.34 miles  Longest run of the year: 20.9 miles (September 18th) Shortest run of the year:  1.7 miles (January 24th, injury shortened). 284 runs on the year.  Average run distance:  7.575 miles

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I honestly thought that I had seen my best run month ever last month.

I was wrong.

I had 3 days off this month, I was expecting more days off, and was expecting cooler temps to both slow me down and shorten my runs.  Neither materialized, and that made it possible for me to push harder and longer than I thought possible in December.  I had ten runs over 10 miles this month, and only eleven runs under 1 hour despite working fairly regularly.  I was speedy throughout the month, and finished strong both distance and speed wise for the month and the year.

I had perhaps my best run month I’ve ever had in the best run year I have ever had.  More long runs than any other year.  I had my first 200+ mile month running.  Then my second, and third and fourth and fifth.  Nearly 1000 miles run during the last 4 months of the year.  The longest single run of my life in September, almost 21 miles.  I’m 44 years old, and I’m in the best shape of my life and that is absolutely friggin wonderful.

A truly great month and year run wise.

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Thur., December 1st:  Ran 6.92 miles in 53: 31.03, a 7:44.02 m/m pace.  35 degrees, cloudy, windy.  I didn’t feel like running the 1.01 lap regular hill run 3 times today, so I extended a different hill run.  I tried to be fast the whole way today, and this was as fast as I could move in this weather at this point.  I’m happy with it.  125 knuckle push-ups, 40 chin-ups, 250 front kicks, 375 reps deep knee bend/punch combo.

Fri., December 2nd:  NO RUN. NO EXERCISE.  Worked late.

Sat., December 3rd:  Ran 13.16 miles in 1:42:00, a 7:45.04 m/m pace.  41 degrees, partly cloudy, breezy.  Ran late for a Saturday run, started after 4 pm, finished near 6 pm, from sunlight to darkness.   I felt pretty damn good about this run before I saw the time, and see no reason to be disappointed by a number.  Mind you a 7:45 isn’t too bad, not for a half marathon run on hills the entire course, with the bulk of it run in darkness.  Not too shabby.  300 knuckle push-ups.

Sun., December 4th:  Ran 10.9 miles in 1:21:23, a 7:27.98 m/m pace.  41 degrees, cloudy, breezy.  5 laps in the park plus the run there and back has frankly never seemed so easy.  I was moving relatively quickly without much in the way of effort.  Now I thought about keeping my feet moving fast, and about stretching my stride, but the effort itself didn’t feel like an effort.  My hamstrings were sore pre-run, and are sore now, so that bears some watching.  Great run though.  150 knuckle push-ups, 48 chin-ups, 600 low, fast, front kicks.  The kicks never got higher than waist high, as I didn’t want to aggravate the sore hamstrings.

Mon., December 5th:  Ran 9 miles in 1:07:44, a 7:31.55 m/m pace.  49 degrees, cloudy, foggy, breezy.  It took all I had to run this pace today.  I tried to be as fast today as I was yesterday, and almost nailed it, but couldn’t quite pull of the pace.  Had a slight headache on top of the sore hamstrings, and just being tired on top of that made this run much harder than yesterdays.  Need more sleep, methinks.  That’d clear up most of the issues.  90 chin-ups.

Tues., December 6th:  Ran 15.2 miles in 1:55:30, a 7:35.92 m/m pace.  59 degrees, rain, wind.  8 laps in the park, 1 slow lap, 7 fast, the last perhaps my fastest of the day.  After one slow lap(my 3rd), I decided to pick up the pace, and motored after that.  Hit the last lap at a 7:20 pace, which is remarkable in that I had just run a half marathon’s distance in a 7:38.  I didn’t think I had that in me.  Nice.  200 knuckle push-ups, 64 chin-ups.

Wed., December 7th: NO RUN, NO EXERCISE.  Worked late.

Thur., December 8th:  Ran 9 miles in 1:09:28, a 7:43.11 m/m pace.  38 degrees, sunny, windy.  Pushed hard out there, but I also made the conscious decision to slow it down a bit.  Which is a hard thing to both say and do.  Hamstrings are sore, but they have been for a while, and that is one of the reasons to slow it down a bit, another being the dropping temperatures.  7:43 ain’t too bad, tho.  150 knuckle push-ups, 58 chin-ups, 600 deep knee bends.

Fri., December 9th:  Ran 6.78 miles in 53:34.01, a 7:54.04 m/m pace.  31 degrees, clear.  Ran as fast as I was capable this morning, which wasn’t very fast.  Hammies are still sore, I usually don’t run very fast this early, and it’s the first day that it’s below freezing since last winter.  I’m actually pretty happy with the time, given all of that.  I enjoyed the morning hill run today, good way to wake up in the morning.  No exercise.

Sat., December 10th:  Ran 10.9 miles in 1:24:59, a 7:47.79 m/m pace.  39 degrees, sunny, windy.  Right hamstring was an issue the entire run, Tightness limited my ability to stretch my stride, so this was my top end speed today.  The hamstring felt better at the end of the run, the last of the 5 park laps and the run home, so I picked up the pace there, and salvaged some kind of decent time.  Better’n nothin, I guess.

Sun., December 11th:  Ran 9 miles in 1:07:01, a 7:26.77 m/m pace.  36 degrees, sunny, breezy.  Pushed hard from the get-go today, and tried to keep the pace fast throughout the run.  I was surprised when I hit the first marker and I saw I was running sub 7:30, surprised and happy, and after that I did everything I could to keep the run that way.  First run in a while that I have not had an issue with my right hamstring.  Nice.  180 knuckle push-ups, 72 chin-ups.

Mon., December 12th:  Ran 10.9 miles in 1:21:59, a 7:31.28 m/m pace.  39 degrees, mostly sunny, breezy.  Great run today, for a number of reasons.  Ran well today, started fast and kept the pace quick the entire way.  A second day without pain in my hamstrings was a nice addition, but the best part of today is that this was a milestone run.  I hit 2,000 miles on the year on the 5th of 5 park laps today.  2,000.  That feels good, longest, strongest run year ever, and I hit the mark running fast.  Beautiful.  175 knuckle push-ups, 72 chin-ups.

Tues., December 13th:  Ran 5.62 miles in 43:24.65, a 7:43.46 m/m pace.  32 degrees, sunny, breezy.  Not a bad run considering this is technically my second run of the day.  Pushed hard on the hills, tried to keep my feet as fast as possible, and  it worked, by and large.    Got hit with a strong pain in my right side around 6 minutes in, had to stop for a minute. Went away as fast as I came on, didn’t interfere with the run otherwise.  80 chin-ups.

Wed., December 14th:  Ran 6.5 miles in 52:16.49, an 8:02.53 m/m pace.  34 degrees, clear.  Damn, I thought I was faster than that.  I really did.  I pushed hard out there on the hills, and frankly enjoyed the run, but I also felt like I was running faster than that.  Dammit.  No exercise.

Thur., December 15th:  Ran 12.8 miles in 1:35:32, a 7:27.81 m/m pace.  53 degrees, cloudy, windy.  I’m as happy about this run as I was unhappy about the previous one.  It was effortless early on, but after about the second lap I started to feel my right hamstring get tight on me again.  I pushed harder after that, not because I wanted to hurt the hammy but because I was moving fast and felt good enough to give it a push.  Fun run.  No exercise.

Fri., December 16th: Ran 9 miles in 1:08:21, a 7:35.66 m/m pace.  43 degrees, sunny, windy.  I gave as much as I had out there today.  Right hamstring was tight, but it wasn’t too bad.  I was able to run fine, might have slowed me down a hair.  Winds gusting to 40 mph, and always in my face and never at my back, made this one more difficult than normal.  Wind in my face and not at my back makes for better training, and I prefer it that way. 88 chin-ups. Better’n nuttin, but not by much.

Sat., December 17th:  Ran 8.22 miles in 1:00:03, a 7:18.32 m/m pace.  37 degrees, cloudy, windy.  I busted my ass out there today.  This was, like yesterday, everything I had.  1.26 miles down to the park, 3 laps and back.  I was not thinking of running super fast today, I just wanted to run, and this was the result.  Nice.  150 knuckle push-ups, 48 chin-ups.

Sun., December 18th:  Ran 5.2 miles in 39:53.51, a 7:40.29 m/m pace.  29 degrees, sunny, cloudy.  Would have gone longer but I didn’t start until very late, and I decided to cut it short what was initially a scheduled long run.  I just did not feel like running.  Ran to see if I could shake the feeling by running, but I couldn’t.  Dammit.

Mon., December 19th:  Ran 5.62 miles in 44:11.86, a 7:51.86 m/m pace.  26 degrees, clear.  Good, strong effort during a  pre-dawn run. I pushed about as hard as I could out there, hit the hills with everything I had.  I feel good about this one.  I could have gone longer, and thought about it, but decided to keep the run relatively short, and get back home early.  Enjoyed the cool, crisp morning.  Good run.

Tues., December 20th:  Ran 7.84 miles in 59.05.90, a 7:32.28 m/m pace.  46 degrees, cloudy, breezy.  Pushed hard out there during this pre-dawn run on the hills today.  But then again, it is easier to push harder when it’s nicer out, ’twas much harder to get any speed yesterday.  Felt good out there doing  those 6 – 1.01 mile hill repeats this morning.  Had fun out there.  56 chin-ups, as much as I had time for.

Wed., December 21st:  Ran 7.16 miles in 56:15.66, a 7:51.26 m/m pace.  48 degrees, cloudy.  Hit the hills again today, I wasn’t able to move as fast as yesterday, but I don’t have a problem with this time.  It’s as fast as I could move this morning, and the hills I ran were the steeper ones, so, no big deal on the slower time.  I enjoyed the run this morning, felt good out there.  100 Knuckle push-ups, it’s as much as I could do in the 5 minutes I had available.

Thur., December 22nd:  Ran 5.82 miles in 44:59.74, a 7:43.87 m/m pace.  49 degrees, partly cloudy.  Kept my stride length as high as I could throughout the run.  Tried to keep my stride rate high as well.  Hills made that tougher, but I think I was pretty good.  Fast on the downhill, slower on the uphill, but not all that slow.  Had fun out there.  No exercise.

Fri., December 23rd:  NO RUN, NO EXERCISE.  Long day.

Sat., December 24th:  Ran 12.8 miles in 1:40:57, a 7:53.20 m/m pace.  33 degrees, sunny, windy.  Long, happy, relaxed run.  OK, it wasn’t relaxed, I was trying out there, pushing, but I wasn’t stressing over looking at the stopwatch, or my stride rate or length.  I just ran to run, because it felt good, because it is good. It was an enjoyable relaxed run, twas a nice change of pace.  175 knuckle push-ups, 56 chin-ups.

Sun., December 25th:  Ran 3.3 miles in 26:13.17, a 7:56.71 m/m pace.  33 degrees, cloudy, breezy. Injury shortened run.  The left knee did it again, went out on me.  Got sore, had to stop twice, and run slower the rest of the way, and cut what should have been the second of 2 – 6 lap runs into a 1 lap shorty.  Ah well, I’ll go long tomorrow, the knee will be fine by then.  200 knuckle push-ups, 48 chin-ups.

Mon., December 26th Ran 9 miles in 1:08:26.82, a 7:36.31 m/m pace.  42 degrees, sunny, windy.  I felt colder than that out, wind made it feel like a real winter run, despite temps in the 40′s.  Pushed hard into the wind, and left everything out there today.  This was as much as I had today, the right knee got loose and almost stopped me before I went 3 miles.  I toughed it out, and the knee instability slowly disappeared.  New stopwatch give me 100ths of a second past the 1 hour mark, where the other didn’t.  Nice.

Tues., December 27th:  Ran 9 miles in 1:08:09, a 7:34.33 m/m pace.  42 degrees, cloudy, windy.  I opened up my stride a bit today, more so on the second half of the run than the first. I cut 8 seconds per mile off of the second half of the run,7:38 pace for the first half, 7:30 for the second.  Nice.  No issues with the left knee after 2 days of issues with instability there.  Double nice.  Oh, and did I mention I broke 2100 miles yesterday?  Triple nice!

Wed., December 28th:  Ran 7.1 miles in 54:22.32, a 7:39.48 m/m pace.  42 degrees, cloudy, windy.  Wind was howling today, made for a fun run.  Pushed hard out there late, took it easier than normal early, the first 1½ or 2 miles I took it slower than normal.  Busted my ass at the end of the run, gave it everything I had.  Both the early slowdown and the late pickup felt good. 300 knuckle push-ups.  A surprisingly un-strenuous workout, did it over the space of an hour, doing it whenever I had a spare moment.

Thur., December 29th:  Ran 10.9 miles in 1:25:38.51, a 7:51.42 m/m pace.  32 degrees, partly cloudy, windy.  Twas hard running today.  I pushed about as hard as I was capable, but I just couldn’t get any real speed going.  Felt good to get the distance done that I wanted to run, wasn’t sure I would be able to.  Time constraints and all that.   Finished in darkness, got started late.  Nice late December run.

Fri., December 30th:  Ran 12.8 miles in 1:36:18, a 7:31.40 m/m pace.  48 degrees, sunny, breezy.  Busted my ass out there today, really pushed with everything I had.  Feet are sore, right hamstring is a touch sore, all else is fine.  Nice weather for the last weekday of the year, and I took advantage of it out there today.  I went out of my way to step up the effort because of the nice weather, and because I am so close to hitting mile marker 2150 on the year, and 250 on the month.  112 chin-ups,  took my time doing them, despite the fact it was late and I was tired when I did them.

Sat., December 31st:  Ran 10.9 miles in 1:21:55.55, a 7:30:96 m/m pace.  52 degrees, partly cloudy, breezy.  Unseasonably warm temperatures made this a dream run.  I didn’t think I’d be able to run as fast as yesterday(I was faster!), and was hoping for a decent run for my last of the year, and got more than what I wished for.  Hit 250 miles on the month, and 2150 on the year with this run.   I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face the entire run.  Nice.  300 Knuckle push-ups.

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That’s about it from here, America.  G’night.

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